Hettinger grad returns from eight-month deployment

One of Hettinger’s own recently returned to the United States after being deployed overseas.


Lacey Navarro (right) recieves her deployment badge.
Lacey Navarro (right) recieves her deployment badge.

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

One of Hettinger’s own recently returned to the United States after being deployed overseas.

Lacey Navarro (formerly Lacey Lewton), returned on June 16 after spending about eight months deployed to the middle east. Navarro was unable to divulge her exact location, only to say she was in Iraq.

Navarro joined the military in March of her senior year, she graduated in 2013. Her inspiration really came from the doubters, she said.

“Everybody told me I couldn’t (join the military), so I figured I’d prove them wrong,” Navarro said.

Navarro was very active in school organizations, including FFA, FBLA and OWLS. She also spent many hours volunteering around the community and was an employee of Kennedy’s Fresh Foods for three years. Navarro also spent a summer employed at Scruffy’s.

After graduation she was sent to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for two months of basic training. Following the completion of her training she was sent to learn her specialty.

She decided to go into the food service section of the military and was in Virginia for two more months of training.

Following her time in Virginia, she was given two weeks of leave before reporting to her permanent station in Kansas.

Rumors began to swirl around her unit that they were going to be deployed. Her lead commander had been acting a little strange and so when he sat the group down and informed them of the deployment, they were not very surprised. Navarro herself was expecting a deployment at some point in her career.

“I figured I was eventually going to get sent overseas,” Navarro said. “I knew at some point in my life it would happen.”

She said the temperature was one of the most memorable aspects of her deployment.

“It was hot, it was very, very hot,” Navarro said.

She also added that the sand could play a big part in affecting her day to day routine. The area in which they were stationed experienced roughly two sand storms per week, and visibility during the storms was zero. Two people standing a few feet apart would not be able to communicate, according to Navarro, and navigating was not easy.

“It’s harder to get to work, but one way or another you’ve got to get there and get your stuff done,” Navarro said.

Navarro is married, and when a couple is faced with deployment, usually they are separated for  months. But unlike many other military marriages, Navarro and her spouse were not apart, in fact they were together most of the day every day when they were deployed together in the same unit.

Currently Navarro is listed as injured with the military, and her future down the road is undecided. But the next step for Navarro and her husband will be Alaska, where they have been reassigned for the next few years.